Recently, President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Muktar Ramallan Yero of Kaduna state controversially received the endorsement of the Kaduna State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to contest the 2015 presidential and gubernatorial elections, but can it work?, asks James Obute
The decision to endorse the duo was taken at the town hall meeting of the party held at the Murtala Mohammed Square, on Saturday August 23, 2014.
Though this decision was greeted with several controversies, the question that keeps on begging for an answer is whether the endorsement of Governor Yero for 2015 is for first term or second term in office as governor of the state.
Yero 46, worked as a senior staff with Nalado Nigeria Limited, a company owned by Arc Namadi Sambo, Governor of Kaduna State between 29th May 2007 to May of 2010, and now Vice President of Federal Republic of Nigeria. When Namadi won election in 2007 and took over, Yero was appointed as Commissioner of Finance.
When the 13th Head of State, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (16 August 1951 – 5 May 2010) died, his deputy, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was sworn–in as President of Nigeria. The death of Yar’Adua created a vacuum leading to the nomination of Namadi Sambo as Vice President of the country.
When the then Deputy Gov. Yakowa moved up as chief executive of the state, he was made to appoint Namadi’s Commissioner of Finance as Deputy Governor. Yakowa and Yero completed that tenure and got a fresh one in 2011.
On 15th December 2012, Yakowa died mysteriously in Bayelsa State in an helicopter crash. Yero. Yero was sworn in immediately at the government house in Kaduna. By May 29, 2015 when this current tenure of governors sworn-in on May 29, 2011 will expire, Governor Yero would have spent about 2 years and 6 months out of the four-year tenure.
One of the major problems in the Peoples Democratic Party and indeed the entire country is the way and manner Goodluck Jonathan ascended to the seat of Nigerian President. In 2013, about five governors and several lawmakers elected under the platform of the ruling PDP defected to the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC).
Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State was almost the one leading the G7. But he did not decamp with the five governors, may be because of the main founders of the ruling PDP are from his state and they did not wanted him to decamp. Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (rtd) and Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) are former Head of State who hail from Niger State. Abubakar handed over in May 29, 1999 to President Olusegun Obasanjo who won the presidential election under the platform of PDP.
However, Governor Aliyu has said several times that he is not support of re-election of President Jonathan in 2015 on the ground that he promised the northern governors in 2010 that if he was elected in 2011 he will not seek for another tenure in 2015. Now that Jonathan has made up his mind to re-contest the 2015 election contrary to his alleged promise, many of them are not comfortable. Ex-President Obasanjo in media interview also said Jonathan promised not to contest in 2015. This has generated a lot of controversies and overheated the polity.
At the meeting held at the Murtala Mohammed Square, in Kaduna, President Jonathan and Governor Yero were endorsed for 2015 election, Vice President Namadi Sambo and two members of the party from the upper chambers of the National Assembly, Senators Ahmed Makarfi and Nenadi Usman were conspicuously absent.
An elated Yero while commending the stakeholders for endorsing him to contest the 2015 governorship election in the state, said there was never a time when himself, the vice president, and other party stakeholders had met to say he would not contest the 2015 poll.
He said, “As a firm believer in God I would remain where God had kept me.”
The motion for the endorsement was moved by a former Zonal Secretary ( North-west), Baba Aliyu while the Zonal (North-west) Public Relations Officer of the party, Husseini Dembo seconded the motion.
In the same venue, there was a dissenting voice, as a former Commissioner for Justice in the state; Mark Jacob told newsmen shortly after the event that it was one thing to endorse a candidate and another thing entirely to translate the “endorsement into votes.” He added that the endorsement does not take the place of the constitutional requirements of party primaries.
Similarly, Barely 48 hours after a group under the auspices of Elected and Appointed Politicians in Kaduna State held a press conference at Ungwar Wakili in Zangon-Kataf local government area of Kaduna State to endorse the ticket of President Goodluck Jonathan and that of the state governor, Alhaji Mukhtar Ramalan Yero for the 2015 election, another group from the zone under the umbrella of Nakowa Patriots has dissociated the Southern Kaduna people from the purported endorsement.
In an open letter to President Jonathan and the national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) entitled ‘The position of the electorate of Southern Kaduna on 2015 election’, signed by Elder Abokie Galadima and Dr Austin Hyuwa, president and secretary of the group respectively and made available to the media in Kaduna on Thursday September 4, the group stated that since the 2011 election results showed that over 80% of the votes Mr President got from Kaduna State came from Southern Kaduna, the group considers it an insult to the people of the area to have been locked out of a heavily policed press conference held in their domain to endorse the president.
The group also expressed dismay about the press conference venue, Ungwar Wakili saying that any decision concerning Southern Kaduna has always been taken from Kafanchan or Kagoro, the choice of the venue the statement added, show the insincerity of the so-called elected and appointed politicians from the zone.
It is believed in several quarters that injustice anywhere is threat to justice everywhere. The earlier the people of Kaduna State sit down to discuss what they are endorsing Yero for the better in order to avoidable looming crisis.
It is seen that Yero is a classical case of mentorship and destiny by political godfathers and communities. His father, Alhaji Ramalan Yero, the Turakin Dawakin Zazzau on 30th December, 2012 reportedly argued that his son has been a leader since birth, saying:
“Muktar is my first son. His background would also help him in the discharge of his duties as governor of Kaduna State. He has 23 paternal and maternal siblings. Apart from that he has over 100 cousins from our extended family and he is my eldest son. By this, you can see that he has been a leader since childhood and he is used to handling complex issues.”
Though Yero is young and has enough strength to run for the office without physical or mental challenges up to two or three term, he will contend with the opposition APC. Though this writer is not aware of the full list of those aspiring for governorship position under the platform APC, Malam Nasir El-Rufai is a force to contend with in the state.
El-Rufai is man that is feared and respected at both state and national level. He is former Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises, the head privatisation agency in Nigeria and also the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja from 16 July 2003 to 29 Nasir El-Rufai 54, established a Quantity Surveying and Project Management Consulting firm in 1982 with three other partners. The firm was quite successful, handling mainly building and civil engineering projects in Nigeria.
From November 1999 to July 2003, he was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises and the Secretary of the National Council of Privatization where he spearheaded the privatisation of many government owned companies.
At various times during his tenure as Minister, he oversaw the Federal Ministries of Commerce (twice) and Interior. He also chaired several high-profile cabinet committees that led to the establishment of a mortgage system in Nigeria. National ID card system for Nigeria, Electric Power Supply Improvement and the sale of Federal Government real estate in Abuja.
The 2011 election result in Kaduna State shows that PDP got its victory from Southern Kaduna. This was because their kinsman, late Patrick Yakowa, the first civilian governor from the zone contested the election under the platform of PDP. Several political crises are already in the zone as 2015 draws closer.
The other two zones, Kaduna North and Kaduna Central zones did not really vote for the ruling party as the two senators representing the two senatorial districts emerged from the opposition CPC then. The former Kaduna State, Senator Ahmed Markarfi who lost the parliamentary election in 2011, only came back to the Senate through the court. He represent Kaduna North.